How to combat motivation slumps

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In my last blog post (written months ago) I discussed my struggle with staying motivated and how I simply felt burnt out.  Since then I have taken several steps to work myself out of that slump.  At this time of the year a lot of people decide to throw in the towel and “start fresh” in the new year.  New year new you right?  Maybe this is true for those who are truly, internally motivated to change but perhaps not for those who are externally pressured to “get fit”.  Or maybe you are someone like me who was in love with the grind but lost that spark somewhere along the way.  Wherever you may be in your journey, below is a list of things to consider as you work to revive that love for the grind:

 

1. Reevaluate your priorities

Working out has been a numero uno priority for me for years and this year it finally hit me that I needed to prioritize other things in my life aside from the gym.  I still kept working out as a top priority, just not number one.  Perhaps you have other things going on in your life that are more important to you right now and the gym may need to get stood up an extra night or two.  And that’s okay!  Being realistic with your priorities can at least help you justify why your gym visits have slowed down.  Maybe you’re not motivated to go to the gym because you just simply don’t want to be at the gym!  You’d rather be helping your best friend get ready for her wedding, or working an extra couple of hours for that raise.  Whatever it is, just be honest with your priorities and own it.  When getting fit is truly a top priority you’ll make the time and you’ll make the visits worth it.

2. Switch up your routine

Having the same lifting routine, using the same cardio machines, and even going to the same gym can get boring.  I had been doing the same lifting split for months and just simply got bored.  I decided to actually write down my new split and plan to change it every 4 weeks.  This kept some structure in my routine (which I need) but it was a new structure and knowing that I was going to switch it in 4 weeks gave me that sense of deadline like “hey next month you may not be doing kettlebell swings so you better swing the shit out of that kettlebell”.  Maybe (definitely) I am the only person who thinks that way.  Either way, even just writing down my plan gave me a sense of direction and goal which motivated me to follow through.

3. Ditch the cardio machines

Maybe you are one of those people that loves cardio machines and props to you if you are but I honestly get bored AF most of the time.  I’ll still do the stairmaster every once in a while but the thought of getting on the treadmill, bike, or elliptical… snooze city.  Here is a list of ways that I have been getting in my cardio that doesn’t involve a machine:

-Real stairs: Pick up 25lb plates and go up and down the stairs at your gym a few times.  If your gym doesn’t have stairs use a step and do a few rounds of step ups

-Sleds: Throw a couple of plates on a sled and give that baby a push in between your lifting sets.  This is by far  one of the quickest ways to get your heart rate up fast.

-Bodyweight HIIT circuit: You can literally make up your own circuit and just go hard for 30-60 seconds and rest for 30-60 seconds.  An example would be burpees for 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds, box jump 30 second, rest 30 seconds. 20 mins of HIIT is a quick and effective way to burn dem cals.

-Battle ropes- Pick these up and slam them on the ground a few times, feel the burn and repeat.

…Jump rope, boxing, supersets, medicine ball slams, swimming, tire flips.  You get the gist.

 

4. Try a new gym or activity

In addition to switching up my lifting split I also switched back to my old gym.  You’d be surprised at how much just a change of scenery can make a difference.  And if it’s just the whole idea of a gym that makes you want to puke, try a yoga or tabata class with a friend, go for a hike, try something new that’s active!

 

5. Give your body a rest

Maybe you feel unmotivated because you are just as exhausted physically as you are mentally.  Sometimes you just need to take a step back.  You’re not going to *lose all of the gains* if you take a little gym vacation.  You may be surprised with how your body responds to rest.  Even if you get a little fluffy after some time off, that time off may be just what you need to reset and refuel that energy.

If you have struggled in the past with staying motivated, please share in the comments below what steps you took to gain your motivation back!

 

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Time is not the problem

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And neither is money. Prioritization is the problem.  I always hear people blame time and money for their unhealthy habits and I am here to tell you that you CAN find time for the gym and you CAN eat healthy on a tight budget, it’s just not your priority.  People often like to use time and money as an excuse to feel better about their decisions.  This pertains to any goal in life, not just fitness.  Would you ever starve your puppy because you didn’t have time or money to feed him/her?  Yes I went there.  But you get the point.  If you have a health goal, or any goal that is truly important to you,  I promise you you will find time.  When I tell people that I workout at 5am they always tell me they could never do it because they are not a morning person.  Well let me tell you that neither am I.  In fact, I have to set my alarm 30 minutes early so that I can press snooze 3 times until I forcibly roll out of bed.  I then proceed to take pre-workout, aka a shot of caffeine magic, and it is not until the magic kicks in that I feel like a human.  I do this because my work hours are unpredictable and getting my work done is also a priority so in order to make sure I tackle both, I choose to workout in the morning.  I am not saying that working out at 5am is something that anyone else needs to do.  My point is that there are 24 hours in the day and a lot of ways to get your workout in.  Even if it’s a 20 minute at home exercise video.  Find whatever works for YOU.  People are always looking for the “quick fix” when it comes to getting in shape and the reality is you actually have to put in the work.  Make some sacrifices.  No “quick fix” is maintainable. All the skinny teas, 10 day detoxes etc may give you a temporary “weight” loss which will probably consist mostly of water but keep putting the money you don’t have for your healthy diet towards quick fixes instead of nutritious foods ;).  Okay so that was harsh but it just drives me crazy when people continue to buy into these marketing gimmicks.  Once you start taking the time to plan ahead, you’ll realize that healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive.

This goes back to prioritization.  Unless I am doing a major stock up, I typically spend anywhere from 60-80 a week on groceries which consist of lean protein, veggies, fruits, whole grains etc and this covers my meals for a full week.  So lets take $80/7.  That’s $11.42 a day for ALL meals.  I typically eat 8 small/medium sized meals a day so that’s $1.37 per meal.  So just to put this into a bit more context… I’ve spent more money on 1 salad from a local shop downtown for lunch (shout out Roche Bros salad bar) than I spend on a full day of food that I pack.  Now I am not someone that buys everything all organic/gluten free etc which I realize can be more expensive but I would bet that one would still get their bang for their buck if they simply take a few extra minutes to plan ahead and be smart with their grocery shopping.  This is, if it’s a priority.  So moral of the story here… be honest with your priorities.  Did you really not have time for that workout or was it just not a priority at the time?  And let’s be clear I am not lecturing people to go get their workouts in and go grocery shopping, just start being honest with what’s truly important to you at the time.  Try this: “No, I didn’t get my workout in this morning because I prioritized margaritas with friends last night and I am too hungover”(said by yours truly). But hey, nights out with friends are important too and at least I am being honest with what’s important.  If I have money for a night out at the bar, I have money for egg whites and chicken.  So before you decide you don’t have enough money or time for something, think about if time and money are the real problem or if you simply don’t want it enough.  I wanted to end this post on a lighter note but someone needs to tell it how it is, especially in a society where for some reason people are afraid to be honest, and instead make up excuses upon excuses, justify their decisions and just wait for things to be handed to them.  With a topic I feel so strongly about, you will always get tough love from me.

Setting Goals and Sticking to Them

October Goals

It is really easy to say that you are going to finish something, or start something, but actually following through with it?  Now that can be the hard part.  I can’t tell you how many times over the past year that I have said  “I need to read more books” yet I have not completed one single book since last summer.  I decided this month that I was going to write down a few of my goals somewhere instead of just talking about them.  Perhaps this approach will keep me more accountable.  We are one week into the month and so far I think this approach has worked for me.  I took my first lunch break out of the office yesterday in probably a month, maybe two.  My food expenses have gone down.  I have spent more of my free time reading (and writing) than staring at a TV screen.  Most importantly, I haven’t been afraid to say “yes”.  I am guilty of being a creature of habit and have fallen into a routine that I would like to break out of a bit.  I may not be able to complete all of these goals this month, but I now have this reminder in my phone to give me that extra push.

 

Whether your goals are short-term, long-term, fitness related or not, I challenge you to write your goals down somewhere.  Even if you have just one small goal, write it down.  If you already have a system that works for you, I challenge you to share it with me!  I would love to hear how others are conquering their goals 🙂